Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-07-07-Speech-1-144"

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"Mr President, human rights are indivisible. Membership of an ethnic group cannot be grounds for discrimination any more than skin colour, sex, religion, sexual preference or anything else. That is a fundamental achievement of our common system of European law. However, part of the self-image and identity of this common system of law is that we take equality before the law seriously, and that means that we have general legislation on matters of social support, schooling, the labour market and fighting crime, and that we apply them – without discrimination. Determining a person’s identity is a precondition for many of these policies. Commissioner Špidla rightly referred to this legal aspect of what is sometimes called the ‘Roma problem’. He also said that he does not want to do whatever the press calls for, but instead require the Italian Government to provide clarification. That is the correct way to proceed. As well as the legal side to all this, there is the human suffering. Many Roma – and therefore many children – live in abject poverty, are not integrated and have little or no opportunity to get ahead in our society. Help is indicated here. In my home city, Graz, vigorous discussion about Roma begging, and a discussion with the Roma about how people can escape from this difficult situation or at least make the best of it, have been ongoing for years. One of the solutions is for the citizens of Graz to finance jobs in Slovakia, in the countries that these Roma come from: in this way at least many children are saved from begging and from the street. We have to do more – we shall do more! There is one final problem concerning the Roma, and it relates to us. It is a problem of politics. This topic, these people and their suffering is potentially the stuff of politics, populist politics on the ground and – as our debate here also shows – sadly also of European populism."@en1

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